TheMichigan Daily - michigandaily.cam
Friday, January 14, 2011 - 3
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, January14, 2011 - 3
Jury clears ex-
Delphi official of
A jury in Detroit has cleared the
former head of Delphi Corp. of the
most serious charges in a civil trial
tied to allegations of financial fraud
at the auto-parts maker in 2000.
J.T. Battenberg III was found lia-
ble yesterday on three of the seven
charges relating to how Delphi
accounted for a $237 million trans-
action involving warranty costs
with its former parent, General
Motors Corp. The case was filed by
the Securities and Exchange Com-
The jury cleared Battenberg of
fraud but found him responsible
for bookkeeping errors and mis-
representations to accountants.
Separately, former Delphi accoun-
tant Paul Free was found liable on
many charges regarding precious
metal and battery transactions
and a $20 million payment from
New school lunch
plan proposes more
fruits and veggies
School cafeterias would have to
hold the fries - and serve kids more
whole grains, fruits and vegetables
- under the government's plans for
the first major nutritional overhaul
of students' meals in 15 years.
The Agriculture Department
proposal announced yesterday
applies to lunches subsidized by
the federal government. The guide-
lines would require schools to cut
sodium in those meals by more
than half, use more whole grains
and serve low-fat milk. They also
would limit kids to only one cup
of starchy vegetables a week, so
schools couldn't offer french fries
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vil-
sack said the new standards could
affect more than 32 million chil-
dren and are crucial because kids
can consume as much as half of
their daily calories in school.
Mayor shot to death
in southern Mexico
The mayor of a remote mountain
town in southern.Qaxaca state was
shot to death yesterday, the third
municipal leader to be slain in Mex-
ico in a week.
Oaxaca state prosecutor Manuel
de Jesus Lopez said authorities
were investigating possible motives
in the latest killing, which occurred
when Mayor Luis Jimenez Mata
was visiting the state capital.
His largely Indian town of San-
tiago Amoltepec has been locked in
a decade-long land dispute with a
neighboring town that has resulted
in about a dozen deaths.
More than a dozen of Mexican
mayors were killed in 2010. The
country has about 2,440 mayors.
VP Biden: U. S.
to continue Iraqi
training past 2011
Vice President Joe Biden said
yesterday that the U.S. should make
sure Iraq's stability and democ-
racy are strong enough to make it
"a country that was worthy of the
* sacrifices" the American military
suffered during eight years of war.
Biden, speaking to some 400
soldiers in Baghdad, also said the
U.S. would continue to train and
equip Iraqi forces beyond 2011.
His remarks highlighted continu-
* ing uncertainty about whether all
American troops will head home by
the end of the year as required by
a security agreement between the
"The Iraqi people for the first
time, I suspect, I would argue, in
their history are on the verge of lit-
erally creating a country that will
be democratic, sustainable and, God
willing, prosperous," Biden told the
troops at the military's headquar-
ters on the outskirts of Baghdad.
"It could have a dramatic impact on
this entire region, and God knows
the Iraqi people deserve it."
The White House has promised
to end the war responsibly. "By that
we meant we were going to end this
by bringing you all home within
a time certain, but leaving behind
a country that was worthy of all
the sacrifices that so many of your
brothers and sisters have made,"
Biden told the troops.
Daily wire reports
Former Florida Gov.Jeb Bush speaks toa Republican group as it kicksoff its efforts to improve the party's outreach to Hispanic
voters yesterday in Miami. The new Hispanic Action Network began a two-day policy conference that started last night.
Former Gov. Bush facilitates
Republican outreach to Latinos
Jeb Bush commits to
with Hispanic voters
MIAMI (AP) - A Republican
group that includes former Florida
Gov. Jeb Bush last night kicked off
its efforts to improve the party's out-
reach to Hispanic voters, many of
whom have criticized Republicans
for using harsh rhetoric to attack
The new Hispanic Action Net-
work is holding a policy confer-
ence featuring several well-known
Republican speakers. It will focus
on issues such as trade, immigra-
tion, media outreach and educa-
Bush, who met his Mexican-born
wife Columba when he taught Eng-
lish in her homeland, said the party
needs to become more engaged in
the Hispanic community - and not
"Typically what happens in poli-
tics is you're working hard and you
say, 'Oh gosh, we better start work-
ing at campaigning in the Hispanic
community,' and it's like Sept. 15,"
he told the crowd last night. "This
is not about politics. This is about
the conservative cause. If you look
over the horizon over the next 10 or
20 years...without an active involve-
ment of Hispanics, we will not be the
The group is among a growing
number of Republican organizations
reaching out to Hispanicsin advance
of next year's presidential election. It
is backed by former Minnesota Sen.
Norm Coleman, whose American
Action Network funneled more than
$30 million in campaign funds to
Republicans in about 30 congressio-
nal races last year.
With the Latino population grow-
ing in swing states such as Nevada,
Colorado and Florida, Republicans
need, to chip away at Hispanics'
overall 2-1 preference forDemocrats
to have any hope of capturing the
Democrats are confident their
party's efforts on health care, educa-
tion and the economy will appeal to
Hispanic voters, whom they believe
have been turned off by some of the
But Bush and other Republicans
have long maintained their party
is a natural fit for Hispanics, par-
ticularly recent immigrants. They
cite the party's social conservatism,
anti-abortion stance and support for
private school vouchers and lower
taxes. Voters last year elected Lati-
no Republicans to prominent posts,
including Florida Republican U.S.
Sen. Marco Rubio and New Mexico
Gov. Susana Martinez.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich,
a possible 2010 presidential can-
didate, announced a similar effort
in Washington, D.C., last month
with his Americanos group. The
conservative Heritage Foundation
also now has a Spanish Web site,
Libertad.org. Meanwhile, Alfonso
Aguilar, former President George
W. Bush's first citizenship and
immigration czar, runs the Lati-
no Partnership for Conservative
Brazil mudslides kill almost 500
Mud sweeps turned inside out, their plumb-
ing and electrical wires exposed.
through country, Children's clothes littered the
earth, cars were tossed upside
entire villages down into thickets. An eerie quiet
prevailed as people searched for
destroyed life. The sounds of digging, with
sticks and hands, were occasion-
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) - ally punctuated by shouts as
The power was out, but lightning another corpse was located.
flashes illuminated the horror Conceicao Salomao, a doctor
as villagers watched neighbors' coordinating relief efforts at a
homes vanish under a wall of mud makeshift refuge inside a gymna-
and water, turning neighborhoods sium in central Teresopolis, said
into graveyards. Survivors dug at about 750 people were staying
the earth barehanded yesterday, there yesterday and about 1,000
but all they found were bodies. people had sought treatment in
It was a scene of muddy the past day. One danger she wor-
destruction in mountain towns ried about was leptospirosis, a
north of Rio, where at least 464 waterborne bacterial disease.
people were killed when torren- "The hospitals around here are
tial rains unleashed mudslides in overflowing. The army and navy
the pre-dawn hours Wednesday, are setting up field hospitals to
burying people alive as they slept. help," she said.
Officials would not venture guess- "The worst is the feeling of
es onhowmany people were miss- impotence. We do what we can,
ing - but fears were high that the but there are so many people."
death toll could sharply rise. Rio state's Civil Defense
In the remote Campo Grande department said on its website
neighborhood of Teresopolis, that 210 people were killed in
now accessible only by a peril- Teresopolis, 214 in nearby Nova
ous five-mile (eight-kilometer) Friburgo and 40 in neighboring
hike through mud-slicked jungle, Petropolis. It said about 14,000
family members pulled the life- people had been driven from their
less bodies of loved ones from homes.
the muck. They carefully laid the Another 37 people have died in
corpses on dry ground, covering floods and mudslides since Christ-
them with blankets. mas in other parts of southeastern
A young boy cried out as his Brazil - 16 in Minas Gerais state
father's body was found: "I want north of Rio and 21 in Sao Paulo
to see my dad! I want to see my state.
dad!" Nineteen-year-old Geisa Carv-
Flooding and mudslides are alho and her mother were awak-
common in Brazil when the sum- ened at 3 a.m. Wednesday by a
mer rains come, but this week's tremendous rumble as tons of
slides were among the worst in muck slid down a sheer granite
recent memory. The disasters rock face onto their Teresopolis
unduly punish the poor, who often neighborhood of Caleme.
live in rickety shacks perched per- The power was out, but by
ilously on steep hillsides with lit- lightning flashes they could see
tle or no foundations. But even the the torrent of mud and water
rich did not escape the damage in rushing just a few feet (meters)
Teresopolis, where large homes from their home - and the rem-
were washed away. nants of their neighbors' houses
"I have friends still lost in all that were swept far down a hill.
of this mud," said Carols Eurico, "We were like zombies, covered
a resident of the city's Campo in mud, in the dark, digging and
Grande neighborhood, as he digging" Carvalho said.
motioned to a sea of destruction "I don't even have the words to
behind him. "It's all gone. It's all describe what I've seen," said the
over now. We're putting ourselves teen's mother, Vania Ramos. "Ablot
in the hands of God." of our friends are dead or missing.
In the same area, Nilson Mar- There are people we may never
tins, 35, carefully held the only find."
thing pulled out alive since dawn: Carvalho and Ramos said they
a pet rabbit that had somehow ran out of their home moments
remained pristinely white despite after the mudslide and joined
the mud. neighbors in digging for survivors
"We're just digging around, with bare hands and sticks. They
there is no way of knowing where quickly located a family of four
to look," he said. "There are three who had died under the rubble
more bodies under the rubble over of their home - and said another
there. One seems to be a girl, no neighbor's 2-month-old baby was
more than 16, dead, buried under washed away in his crib and has
that mud." yet toube found.
The hundreds of homes washed Nearly all the homes in their
away in the neighborhood were neighborhood were swept to the
bottom of a hill.
Only a few rescuers had man-
aged to hike to Caleme by yester-
day and they only had shovels and
machetes - not the heavier equip-
ment needed to hunt for survivors.
Residents said they had no food,
water or medication, and many
made the long walk for help to the
center of Teresopolis, about 40
miles (65 kilometers) north of Rio.
Morgues in the cities were full
and bodies covered in blankets
were laid out in streets.
Officials said the area hit by
slides had seen 10 inches (26
centimeters) of rain in less than
24 hours. More rain is forecast
through the weekend.
Survivors across the region
were seen wading through waist-
high water, carrying what belong-
ings they could, trying to reach
higher ground. Many tried des-
perately to find relatives, though
phone service was out in the
region and many people were
still missing hours after the rain
The floods tore out most of the
steep cobblestone road leading
to the Campo Grande neighbor-
hood, creating a ravine about 16
feet (5 meters) deep and 65 feet
(20 meters) wide. In many areas,
pedestrians were forced to walk
through muddy, slippery jungle.
President Dilma Rousseff flew
by helicopter over the region yes-
terday and the Health Ministry
said it was sending seven tons
of medications, enough to treat
45,000 people for a month.
Rousseff said the destruction
was an act of God - but she also
said people died because homes
were illegally built in areas prone
"We saw areas in which moun-
tains untouched by men dis-
solved," she told reporters in Rio
after the flyover. "But we also saw
areas in which illegal occupation
caused damage to the health and
lives of people."
Teresopolis Mayor Jorge Mario
Sedlacek decreed a state of emer-
gency, calling the calamity "the
worst to hit the town." About 800
search-and-rescue workers from
the state's civil defense depart-
ment and firefighters were dig-
ging for survivors, but hopes were
The cost to rebuild the city of
Teresopplis alone was estimated
at $60 million, said the city's civil
defense secretary, Flavio Luiz
Castro in a report carried by the
Terra news portal website.
The federal government said it
was making available more than
$400 million to the states affect-
ed by the rains, and officials said
they would work closely with Rio
de Janeiro state authorities to